New Market Free-doms

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There’s an interesting piece on Hugh McLeod’s blog this week: 10 questions put to Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired, and author of ‘Free’, a new book about the changing business model which balances stuff that’s given away (mainly in a digital format) with paid-for premium services.
Anderson makes the point that, in the 20th century free stuff usually meant you were going to pay sooner or later (think ‘free’ mobile phones), but with the new models, someone is still paying, but it’s almost impossible to trace who.

I spoke about the concept of free quite a lot last year, as one part of four important social forces (the others being Sharing, Open and Trust) which increasingly dominate ‘innovative interactions’ – the speech was called ‘Why The World’s Gone SOFT’ and you can read one version of it, and see some slides here.

Some critics have sniped at Anderson, wondering why he charged for his book, but that completely misses the point – Wired, and Random House (publishers of Free) are having to find new ways of making a living in a radically changing world for print media. But this is the way the world is moving, and young people (that is current and future consumers) aren’t going to have it any other way.

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